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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 13, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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gun violence. there's continuing incidence every day of shootings in this country. new york is just the latest. joe from "the new york times" does something he calls the day in gun violence. a woman in florida shot and killed her ex-boyfriend who she happened to run into at a post office. a 14-year-old boy upset over being grounded pulled out a revolver. he emptied the chambers. in oregon, a convicted felon gunned down his grandparents. they threw him a welcome home party to celebrate his release from prison. he shot and killed them after the party. listen to this part, detectives learned from a search of computer data, he researched gun shows in washington and nevada before or just after they were killed. at some gun shows, some sellers
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are not required to conduct background checks or sale records as gun shops do. the loophole, not requiring a background check is what congress has its sights on. a bill to require universal background checks. it's headed to a full vote in the senate. that bill, importantly, didn't get one vote from republicans on the committee. it passed with only democratic support. there's news tonight there may be a political breakthrough coming. nbc news is reporting tonight the nra, which long stood in the way of universal background checks will not oppose them as long as private dealers are not mandated to maintain records of the checks. they balk at that demand but the fact the nra is giving ground on the background check issue, that could be a very big deal.
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that is the first glimmer of something happening on this issue as a result of the days and weeks and months of mounting political pressure. as we saw, real world pressure as well. this story that cannot move tonight we meet the mvp of the 2012 campaign. >> should i risk everything. >> recall campaign 2012. >> 47% of the people will vote for the president no matter what. >> a recording of mitt romney -- >> secretly recorded comments. >> republicans are in a panic. >> you kissed half the electorate good-bye. >> who shot the video and what was the motivation for releasing it? >> my name is scout prouty.
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>> mitt romney is expected to reemerge. >> i'm mitt romney. >> morning y'all. >> he's dogged by a comment -- >> you represent the entire country. >> it's not eloquently stated. i'm speaking off the cuff. >> you have to work for everybody. >> president obama heads back to the hill today. >> this time to meet with house republicans. >> he's lunching with house republicans. >> president obama's charm offensive continues. >> where democrats and republicans can get together. >> are the two sides so far apart. >> they are miles apart. >> they can't make a deal. >> it may be the differences are too wide. >> was the charm offensive political calculation? >> nothing happened over the last 2 1/2 years. >> the differences are too wide. >> an unbridgeable divide.
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tonight msnbc's "ed show" got the biggest get. the get of the year. ed interviewed the florida man who secretly recorded mitt romney's remarks. that recording leaked into the presidential campaign in september when mitt romney was polling even with president obama. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 47% are with him who believe they are victims and the government has a responsibility to care for them, believe they are entitled to health care, food, housing. they are people who pay no income tax. my job is not to worry about those people. they should take personal responsibility. >> no turning point in the campaign was more important than the release of that tape. president obama opened up a seven point lead and mitt romney never got within striking distance, again according to
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nate silver. >> let's start with the most valuable player of the 2012 presidential campaign. my choice is, of course, the anonymous videographer. that is scott prouty. he's 38 years old. he is from boston. massachusetts is romney's home state. he lives in florida. he was serving as a bartender the night of the romney fund-raiser. here is ed with the mvp of 2012. >> i grew up in a blue collar area of boston. nobody i know can pay, can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner. i felt an obligation for all the people who can't afford to be there, you shouldn't have to be able to afford $50,000 to hear what the candidate actually thinks. i came to the conclusion, i wanted to go live in full, you
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know, probably when most people are paying attention. i thought that was probably around the conventions, the rnc and the dnc. i wanted his words to be the center of attention. maybe it would be fun to go on a show or do this show or that, but i thought that would change the topic of the conversation away from the primary thing that was most important to me. i thought it was too important for me to just stand-up and say hey, i did it and try to get a little bit of fame. >> mr. romney, at that point in that tape says he wants you to put out the full tape. what was your response? >> let's do it. he asked for it, let's do it. called it a snippet insinuating it was taken out of context. so, at that point, he asked for it, so i decided to give it to him. >> president obama used your material to close a debate at a very crucial time after his first debate was heavily
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criticized. this was his closing statement. what was going through your mind? >> it was the last line of the debate. i was sitting on the edge of my couch at the time. i was watching the first debate and there was no mention of it. you know, there was certainly a cheer erupted in the room at the time. i was thrilled that he hit him with it when he did. you know, it was well done. it worked out exactly the way i hoped it would. i'm thrilled he mentioned it. i think he used it to great effect, for sure. >> do you think it changed the election? >> yeah, i think it did. it defined a point of when he needed to be defined for the american public. it defined him in a negative light, but an honest light. it showed who he was as a person. >> joining me now, former senior adviser to president obama david axelrod and "huffington post"
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reporter, brian grimm whose conducted multiple interviews with scott prouty. david axelrod, i named scott prouty the mvp of the 2012 campaign, do you have an argument with that, sir? >> i don't know. >> come on. >> there's no doubt that was an impactful piece of video because it crystallized a sense that people had of governor romney that had been built up over the course of the campaign. what it did was lengthen the lead. we came out of the conventions with a three to four point lead. it went to six or seven points. we gave some of those points back and settled back into the three to four point range where the race ended. in terms of defining the romney campaign, that was the iconic moment, there's no question about that.
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>> take us to obama campaign headquarters when you discovered this video. as i understand it, they found out about it almost as soon as mother jones put it out there. >> yeah. actually, folks came into my office and were stunned by it. this is going to be really impactful. of course, you immediately saw that it would. as i said, we had been building a case for some time that romney was not attune to the experience of large numbers of americans struggling in this economy, working hard, trying to get ahead and running into obstacles and head winds. this tape seemed to crystallize everything that we had said. it's not often that you get a candidate, in his own words, affirming, essentially the case you are making against him. we knew right away this was going to be a big deal.
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>> brian grim, a big deal. it couldn't have been a bigger deal. i don't think there was a more perfect way for scott prouty to handle this. timing and everything. >> i met with him before and after the video came out. >> did you speak to him before the video came out? >> over e-mail. never by phone. >> in that e-mail, was it revealed to you who it was? >> no, he kept himself anonymous. it wasn't until down the road he would tell me his name. >> was he reaching out to you? >> our d.c. operations manager is a tech, you know, a tech fanatic. he found the 47% video on a youtube account that nobody else noticed and started communicating with him. he also, scott himself, posted in the comment section. i was able to find his e-mail
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address. i e-mailed him and started communicating with him that way. jason was e-mailing with him, all of us trying to get the video out of him. after the video actually came out, i was asking whether he would come forward. as a journalist, i wanted him to come forward. what he cared about was making sure that the focus stayed on mitt romney's remarks. he didn't want any distraction. he didn't want people looking into his past, suggesting he did this for a motive or discrediting the video. he wanted it to live on its own. he was completely comfortable to have everyone else taking the credit for this, you know, while watching the entire country talking about what he had done. >> david axelrod, as someone who knows how this game is played, that strikes me. that decision to stay anonymous strikes me as a brilliant choice
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on his part because are you certain if his name came out and identity came out, the romney campaign would have done nothing other than try to attack him personally? >> the whole story is remarkable, when you think about it. the fact he held the tape until after labor day, after the conventions, he understood the fact that's the time. he had to keep himself out of it so the story is the focus of the tape. i gather he's from boston. i felt cities like boston, chicago, politics are like in the water. you learn all about it there. he had this innate sense that, you know, that it's uncanny. you have to hand it to him, he handled it in a shrewd way. >> ryan, what do you make of the timing now? he could have come out the day after the election.
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there's plenty of time between then and now. what do you make of the decision now? >> what he told ed is he's going to do work with the steel workers and with another organization that works on behalf of the press. that is -- that's what his passion is. so, i think that had something to do with it. i think he finally felt safe like okay, i am now among a community of people who will have my back. for the last several months, what he's been most nervous about is he ticked off some extremely powerful and extremely wealthy people. he was nervous they would come after him and personally destroy him. it's not paranoia. there's no reason to think some people wouldn't try to do that. now that he's working with the steel workers and other organizations, he has their backing. i think he feels protected. what i kept telling him is look, you have not just 47% of the
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country, but slightly more than that that would have your back if people came after you. but, you know, where he lives in florida is a conservative area. it only takes a couple rich people to come after you to change your life. he has reasonable concerns, they are being addressed by having this. >> he was talking to other people, jonathan alter said he has been talking to him for a couple months and he's going to use some of the material from him in an upcoming book. did you have a sense of how many people in the media had direct contact with him like you did? >> i think he was fairly accessible if you wanted to reach out to him. he had a twitter account and he tweets on a regular basis. his twitter account was anonymous, but he was very open this is the twitter account behind the person who released the video.
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he was commenting on public events. he gave me blind quotes, not blind, 47% about the third debate. he was communicating with reporters. anybody who wanted to talk to him could have. >> david axelrod, i'll give you the last word on this segment. might your last words be thank you to scott prouty? >> i think it's fair to say he doesn't have much of a future in bar tending, but a great future in politics. those skills will come in handy. >> thank you for joining me tonight. in a programming note, scott prouty will be my guest tomorrow night here on "the last word." if you have questions you would like to ask him, send them to facebook. >> president obama was greeted by a standing ovation by the house republicans. it was downhill from there. we will talk about that. in the rewrite, a republican who
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voted for the defensive marriage act says her vote was wrong. now she's pleading with the gop to finally do the right thing on marriage equality and the shocking testimony today in the senate about the sexual assaults happening in our military. senator claire mccaskill was there. she'll join me in a last word exclusive. today is gonna be an important day for us. you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do? bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online. attention on site, attention on site. now starting unit nine. some of the world's cleanest gas turbines are now powering some of america's biggest cities. siemens. answers.
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the massachusetts senate race to fill what was john kerry's seat is going as predicted on this program. congressman markey has a 30-point lead. the markey campaign released the first ad going straight at the nra. >> from my cold dead hands -- >> long before tragedy swept our nation, it was markey who forced
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the chinese to stop exporting assault weapons to our country. now, fighting for tougher gun laws to make our community safe. >> i want these guns off our street. that's why i approve this message. >> the president met with all the house republicans today and actually got a standing ovation. that's next. da phne
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meeting with all the republicans in the house of representatives in the capital. before the meeting, the president was realistic about the chances of a grand bargain with republicans. >> ultimately, it may be the differences are just too wide. if their position is we can't do any revenue or we can only do revenue if we gut medicare or gut social security or gut medicaid. if that's the position, we are probably not going to get a deal. >> after the meeting with the president, john boehner and eric cantor offered their assessments. >> we have a spending problem. we have to attack the spending. the president understands we have long term spending we need to deal with, but he's going to hold hostage the fact he wants to raise taxes on the american people, again. >> you know, again, if the president wants to let our unwillingness to raise taxes get in the way, we are not going to
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be able to set differences aside and focus on what we agree on. my take away was there. >> president obama spoke at an organizing event where he explained motivations for reaching out to republicans. >> over the last several weeks, the press here in washington has been reporting about obama's charm offensive. the truth of the matter is i have been calling up folks and trying to see if we can breakthrough some of the -- some of the gobbledygook of our politics here. i actually just want to govern. at least for a couple years. >> crystal ball, imagine that, he just wants to govern. it is reported the republicans gave the president a standing ovation at the beginning and the end of the meeting. that indicates they at least have manners. that's just respect, not agreement.
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it's not like we'll find an agreement. >> no, i don't think they found much agreement. the president needs to reach out to the hill, if he just had better relationships. that's really not the problem. the problem is fundamental. it's things like these republican house members are more concerned about the right flank than running to the center for an election. the problem is, maybe the ideologies are too far apart. i think a lot of democrats are going, do we really want a grand bargain? deficits are coming down. do we need a grand bargain? we don't want to raise taxes for the heck of it. there are two republicans democrats want to raise taxes, one more fairness in the tax code. the other is cut the deficit. they don't want to exchange it for a bad deal on entitlements. the appetite is weighing on if democratic side as well. >> the republicans, some are saying the same things we got
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all these spending cuts. why should we also throw in entitlement cuts at a time when politics aren't so great for us? >> yeah, the politics can be played by both sides. the republicans went after the president for the cuts they expect him to put in place for entitlements. both sides prepare to flip on their head. they are in a world of mixed emotions. they love this and hate this. they love the fact he came to them, standing ovation. they hate it because they are not going to do anything they want. he loves the fact he went to them but the press talked him into it. it's not a charm offensive. they are playing around each other. there will be tax hikes come, they are going to call it tax reform. there will be entitlement cuts they are going to say it's smarter or fairer or prolonging the life of the programs.
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this is the game that's going on. will there be a grand bargain or a little bargain? i suspect it's smaller. there's a deal working through the course. >> we have gone from there has to be a deal, this is a disaster, you can't allow the sequester to happen to the sequester happened and there's the president saying well, ultimately, if we can't get a deal -- they are saying things that include the possibility there won't be a deal and the sequester will be what we live with here. >> he's saying it's not the end of the world if we don't reach a grand bargain. i had hope the sequester was something that shifted the fundamental calculus. it came and went. on the democratic side, they feel the cuts are too severe, which they are. on the republican side, there's a lot of discomfort. a lot of them are comfortable cutting the defense department. republicans with districts where
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defense industry is important. i thought maybe it shifted the calculus enough. a lot of democrats are looking saying i don't see how we get to a good deal that we think is worth signing off on. >> let's listen to what the president said about why he's trying to talk to members other than just the leadership. >> at this juncture, one of the things i believe is we have to get members of congress involved in these discussions, not just leadership. because i think a lot of them feel as if they don't have the opportunity to break out of some of this partisan gridlock. ironically, i think the leadership want their membership to create a permission structure -- >> he thinks the members can say to the leadership after meeting with the president and others, hey, maybe we should go this way. >> look, this is a dynamic that's played out between the
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house and the senate. the house leadership cannot bring their own people on board but go to the house caucus and say the senate is making us do this. they have done all these deals already. there's some of that dynamic there. he's trying to drive a wedge between the republicans who want to get elected and those concerned about going ever more to the right in terms of the primary. he's playing politics with it and they are with him. >> i think he has in his head at all times the number of days left in his presidency, in an important way. he feels it ticking. this is how much time i have left to get things done. he doesn't want to waste a day. >> that's right. there are two paths. can i actually work with this group i have toward a decent result? i think maybe on immigration reform, we will see that. i would say the paul ryan budget coming out and being so stark and similar to what he's offered before, i think that was a step backwards.
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the other route to him accomplishing the agenda is win back the house in 2014. >> he needs to govern now. thanks for joining us. the evolution of president obama and marriage equality. he says he doesn't think it's constitutional for states to ban same-sex marriage. ahead, my exclusive interview with senator claire mccaskill and the problem with sexual assault in our military. would we be having this kind of hearing if there weren't female senators on the armed service committee in it's coming up. ski? think again. introducing olay professional even skin tone. developed by experts in skin genomics to target 5 major causes of uneven skin tone and help restore even color. olay professional even skin tone. challenge that with olay facial hair removal duos
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>> the atmosphere off the bat was horrible. people asked me what sexual favors i had performed to get my orders there. >> there was a senior officer in my command who said female marines are nothing but an object for marines to [ bleep ]. >> that was from a documentary. the elite unit in washington, d.c. today, the senate held its first hearing on sexual assault in the military in nearly ten years. that movie was a factor in it. in the spotlight tonight, the war on women and men in our military. >> i was raped during military service and during my first assignment. that was 1988.
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i was 18 years old. it was two weeks before my 19th birthday. >> i ran into my rapist in a post store. he recognized me. i was retraumatized from seeing him that i removed myself and sought out the assistance from an army chaplin who told me the rape was god's will and god was trying to get my attention for me to go back to church. >> hearing one of my senior members of my chain of command coming to me saying you are not going to report this. that is devastating to any survivor, male, female, whatever. >> that last witness is the first male victim to testify before the senate on sexual assault in the military. >> to translate this into percentages, 68% of victims in
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the military are men. this is the part of the crisis that the department of defense does not acknowledge. >> all of the victim witnesses asked congress to take action and change the way they handing rape in the military. claire mccaskill introduced legislation that could do that. >> unfortunately, i believe this is not a crime we are going to train our way out of because the crime of rape has nothing to do with sexual gratification. it's a crime of assault, power, domination. and i believe, based on my years of experience that the only way that victims of sexual assault are going to feel empowered in the military is when they finally believe that the focus on the military is to get these guys and put them in prison.
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>> joining me on the last word exclusive, senator claire mccaskill. what was the most striking part of the hearing for you today? >> obviously, the testimony of the victims is compelling and heart breaking. i spent a lot of time in the courtroom as a prosecutor of sexual assault cases. i understand the challenge. frankly, we need to make changes in this military justice system because it's not working the way it should. >> the idea that a commander can simply overturn the ruling and findings of a jury in a court-martial. >> yeah. by the way, before the appeal process. >> yes. >> so, it is a backwards system because typically, you would have the legal determinations on guilt first, then an opportunity for clemency. they do it right after the trial. that doesn't make sense to me. certainly, the notion that one
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person who hasn't heard the testimony is only reading transcripts can, with the stroke of a pen and for no reason what so ever say i'm going to make it all go away, that's wrong. >> if he reads the transcripts. the case we are talking about the colonel james wilkerson, who was convicted and his commander simply overturned it with the stroke of a pen, as you say. that happened very recently. it's the case you said last week was probably a tipping point in the history of this subject. >> i think it is a tipping point. i think he read the transcripts and spent time on it. these cases are so important. you have to hear the witnesses. they are he said/she said. when you have a consent defense or it didn't happen defense, which was the case in this one, you have to hear the witnesses and determine who is telling the truth.
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this judge in this case is not really a judge. he doesn't have legal training. he didn't hear the witnesses, yet, he decided to make it all go away. i think it sends the wrong message at a point and time that our biggest struggle is getting women to come forward in very difficult situations to report the crimes and make sure we can fair out the cowards committing the crime of rape and sexual assault. >> where i learned most of what i know is in the documentary that was nominated for academy award, "invisible war." i know leon panetta and chuck hagel saw the documentary. is it your sense many and most of the men testifying on behalf of the military today at the hearing were aware of what's in that documentary or have seen it? >> i asked them that specific question. they have all seen it. i asked the marine, the military
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lawyer for the marine if he would get back to me and let me know what action was taken around the command for this scandal, even setting aside the sexual assault laid out in that movie. just the notion there was that kind of environment around the washington barracks of the marines in d.c. i'm worried they have not taken some of this as seriously as they should. having said that, lawrence, in fairness, i spent hours with some of the prosecutors in the military. many of them are doing their very best and working very hard at this. i do think there's a sense in the military that it's time we have to do a much better job and i think they are not going to fight some of these changes, but rather hopefully cooperate with us. >> senator, i was to say, i was struck by a couple images. one was a big bank of men, one woman representing the military commanders on this. it's that standard shot we have seen forever of an armed
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services committee with all the brass and all those medals on their chest, then six women on that armed services committee, it's not long ago there were no women on the armed services committee. i have to believe that women like you on the armed services committee have made a real difference in the way this is heard. >> i think that's true. i think it's a good thing. another thing that struck me lawrence, is the panel of victims wasn't all women. there was a man who had been victimized, raped when he was in the navy and he came forward and very compelling and brave testimony publicly talked about what happened to him. that's also progress. this isn't a crime that's just about women victims. there are men victims of this crime in this setting, the military setting, it's important that we provide them assistance and services because talk about difficult to stay in a unit with your accused to have to
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sometimes report to a command structure that may be friends with the accuser or the accused. it's important that we look at this as not just women, but also men. >> senator claire mccaskill, thank you for your work on this and for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> coming up, president obama makes a statement on marriage equality. and we'll be joined by a legislature who voted the wrong way an doma and regrets it. that's coming up. [ telephone ringing ]
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♪ diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues... with three strains of good bacteria. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. president obama rewrote his position on marriage equality today. he's moving from expressing personal support to saying today that he no longer believes it's a matter that should be left up to the states, that banning same-sex marriage at any level, federal, local or state is not constitutional. he said what i believe is that if the states don't have a good justification for it, it probably doesn't stand-up to constitutional muster. george instead of notary public
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indianapolis asked, can you think of one. he said i can't. personally, i cannot. president clinton signed the defense of marriage act into law. a week ago, he came out in a washington post op-ed piece in opposition to the law he signed. i have come to believe doma is incompatible to our constitution. not a word of the constitution has changed since he signed the act. he was 18 points ahead of republican challenger, bob dole. his re-election was never seriously threatened that year. but president clinton, still under the influence of campaign consultant dick morris wasn't willing to lose in the polls over the defensive marriage act. one voted against the marriage
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act then. california boxer and diane finestein and the massachusetts governor voted against it from the state of oregon where his re-election was not assured. the bravest vote came from bob kerry, remember senting the state of nebraska. in his op-ed piece, which president clinton apologized for nothing, he wrote doma was opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of congress. the line reads as if clinton is trying to say, hey, everyone thought doma was a good thing but 14 senators knew better. 67 house members including nancy pelosi knew better. they never had to apologize for that vote. many who voted the wrong way an the defensive marriage act knew better or should have known better.
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what is it like to cast a vote like that, to know you are wrong and to know that you have chosen to vote in the politically expedient way? bill clinton's op-ed piece doesn't tell us that. but we did get a feeling for what it's like yesterday in minnesota on a hearing on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in minnesota. lynne osterman, who served one term in the minnesota house told us what it was like to cast a politically expedient vote that she knew was wrong when she voted in favor of minnesota's defense of marriage act in 2004. >> when i was a sophomore in college, i set the goal to serve in the minnesota house of representatives. when i got here, thinking i was going to be a thoughtful citizen legislature, i was ill prepared for the partisanship that greeted my class.
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the chairs class of 2002. i served as a republican because of my interest in smaller government. it was incredibly counter intuitive to me to then, upon my arrival to talk about it. i didn't come to st. paul to talk about it. in my only term as a member -- i cast a politically expedient vote in favor of doma and i have regretted that ever since. it was not in my conscience or my own compass. nothing says it's okay to treat people differently than how i would want to be treated, fairly, respectfully, equally.
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that's what this conversation is about. whether you believe in big or small government, do you believe in fair, respectful, equal? we have all taken our history classes and could come up with our own list of instances. what were the polls like for those issues? was everyone ready when our elected officials took the reigns and led our communities i blew my vote.
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and please get this right. minnesota citizens just want you to lead. coming up, lynne joins me live and we'll get tonight's last word. financial obstacles military families face, we understand. our financial advice is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. life brings obstacles. usaa brings retirement advice. if youthen this willbrids arbe a nice surprise. meet the 5-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max come. c-max go. c-max give a ride to everyone it knows. c max has more passenger volume than competitor prius v
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joining me now, lynne osterman, minnesota republican. thank you for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me,
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lawrence, i have looked forward to it. >> your situation fascinates me. i worked in the senate and saw people in these situations. i know it's difficult. when you made the choice to cast that vote in 2004 and you say now that you knew it was the wrong vote then, what did it feel like? what was the story you told yourself about why you were casting the vote that way? >> it took me three tries to be elected to the minnesota legislature, '90, 2000, 2002. my philosophy was i can't swing at any pitches if i'm not in the game. i believed there were other votes prior to that one and afterwards that i would want to be able to contribute by being there. i guess i told myself that if my endorsement were truly in jeopardy, which by the way, i didn't believe it was, but other people around me felt strongly
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about that. i'm not blaming anyone, but i guess i caved and really believed that i could justify it from that standpoint. plenty of people before me have taken politically expedient votes, i'll swallow hard and move on. >> president clinton pointed to it in his op-ed piece where he talks about the defensive marriage act that he signed. in the senate, for example on that vote, only four voted against it. everyone knew it was going to pass, which is to say, everyone knew that no individual vote mattered. that was the case in your situation where 88 votes for it when you voted for it. you knew it was going to pass. you knew your individual vote in